WEISSPORT — It’s a busy bridge on a busy road and part of it is set to close for the rest of the summer.
The McCall Bridge along Route 209 near Lehighton is a major route for anyone in Carbon County who’s trying to get to the Lehigh Valley, the Poconos, or the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Thursday night, the southbound lanes of the McCall Bridge will close for months.
All the southbound Route 209 traffic will be detoured off the bridge right onto the main street through the borough of Weissport.
The McCall Bridge sees tens of thousands of vehicles every day. Now, Weissport is about to see a lot of that, and drivers are likely to see a slow ride through that community.
There’s already a lot of commotion on Bridge Street in Weissport but this is just the work getting the main road through town ready for the real commotion: the Route 209 southbound traffic that will be detoured starting Thursday night.
“Chaos, it will be chaos.”
“A mess, a mess for a while.”
Terry O’Donnell and George Stritz sat and watched the work on Thursday thinking of all the traffic Friday when Bridge Street becomes one way from there into Lehighton.
It’s because PennDOT is closing the southbound lanes across the Route 209 McCall Bridge. The bridge links Lehighton with the turnpike and more. It carries 24,000 vehicles a day and a lot of that will now be heading into Weissport.
“It’s going to be a lot of traffic, a lot, and I think it’s going to be backed up,” said Kathy Gable.
Kathy Gable and Tonya Hines live right along the detour.
“It would make it harder for us to get through,” said Hines. “We have a lot of stuff we have to do every day and it would just delay our appointments and stuff.”
“Unless I can get someone to come pick me up, then I would be OK,” added Gable.
We have been doing stories on this crumbling bridge for years and while some are concerned about the traffic problems coming, no one doubts this thing needed work.
“You should take a drive down and go look underneath it. It’s scary!” said Tom Green of Weissport.
Green thinks the whole bridge should have been replaced, not just repaired.
It’s considered one of the most structurally deficient in our viewing area.
The $11 million project to fix it started last year. Closing the southbound lanes is just one phase of it all but one that will most impact traffic.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. If people take their time and obey, it could be OK. We’ll see what happens,” said Green.
PennDOT says the detour is expected to last through September
The plan is to finish the whole project to repair the McCall Bridge by May of 2015.
For now, drivers should be ready for some delays.